Drinks of the Season: 7 Cocktails to Welcome the Holidays

by Rhonda Turner

Mulled Wine
Mulled Wine traces its roots to Scandinavia. But there are countless versions across Europe. At its most basic, Mulled Wine combines red or a port wine with added spice, specifically clove or cinnamon. Sometimes orange peels are added, and the Swedish version includes sugar, rum, and brandy.

And there are numerous variations on a theme regarding mulled wine drinks. Here are a few favorites.

Holiday Glogg
Holiday Glogg is popular in the United States. This decidedly German beverage can be found in homes and Christmas markets throughout the holiday season. Holiday Glogg is prepared by simmering red wine, sugar, orange peels, cloves, and rum until warm and the sugar is dissolved.

St. Charles Punch with a Port Twist
The St. Charles Punch with a Port Twist cocktail is a contemporary variation of a mulled wine quaff. Once served at the historic St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans, this urban holiday favorite combines ruby port, Cognac, bitters, lemon juice, and homemade lemon-orange syrup. Shaken, not stirred, and happily poured over ice, the St. Charles Punch is sure to be a 21st Century classic.

Gluhwein
Gluhwein is a decidedly German beverage, traditionally red wine, raisins, anise, clove, or cinnamon spice. Gluhwein is always served warm. One of the oldest appearances of Gluhwein in German history dates back to the early 15th century when the sweet and spicy beverage was heated with red-hot pokers and quietly sipped by noblemen.

Feuerzangenbowle
Feuerzangenbowle means fire – bowl. The beverage combines mulled wine spiced with cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and orange peel. Then a rum-soaked sugar cone or cube is lit, carmelizing the sugar as it drips into the wine, creating a distinctive flavor.

Mulled Cider – Wassail Punch
Wassailing is a Medieval English tradition. Also known as the blessing of the fruit trees. It involved drinking and singing to the health of the trees hoping for a bountiful fall harvest. Wassail, a hot mulled citrusy punch, was the beverage of choice.
There are very few differences between mulled cider and Wassail Punch. Both contain spices and some juice. One of the main differences is that mulled wine is often made with whole oranges. However, Wassail is traditionally made with apple juice. It may contain cranberry or citrus juice for a more tart flavor at Yuletide.

Eggnog
Another traditional holiday beverage is Eggnog. This drink is made from eggs, sugar, milk or cream, and sometimes liquor.
Beverage scholars disagree on eggnog’s style and origins. The Oxford English Dictionary sets the origins around 1693 as “a kind of strong beer brewed in East Anglia.” However, Miriam Webster dates its creation to 1775. There’s also speculation that the name stems from rapidly pouring the mixture between two pitchers to mix, thus creating eggnog or the British term, “egg flip.”
Like mulled wine, there are numerous regional and personal Eggnog recipes. One of the most delicious recipes comes from the island of Cuba — Creme de la vie. This rich Eggnog variation includes sugar, Spanish vanilla, egg yolks, nutmeg, and a healthy dose of white rum. One taste, and you will understand why it is called the cream of life!

Hot Buttered Rum or Hot Toddy
The Hot Toddy is another Yuletide tradition that revelers can enjoy year-round. A hot toddy consists of whiskey or bourbon, water, lemon, honey, and cinnamon. The drink is always served hot! While the Hot Toddy gained popularity throughout Great Britain and Europe as a warming drink with a punch. Its American cousin, the hot-buttered rum, has a more pioneering flare.
By the early 18th century, colonists in America were importing dark Caribbean rum. Within a few decades, American distilleries were up and running. Rum (and whiskey) became an American trade product used for revelry, medicine (bourbon is thought to be a decongestant), and of course, holiday drinks!

Anijsmelk
Anijsmelk is a Dutch drink that combines hot milk, aniseed, sugar, and honey. One of the few non-alcoholic drinks on the list, Anijsmelk is often enjoyed as a nightcap. This delicious drink is also consumed around outdoor activities and can have a surprisingly sporophoric effect. For a unique twist on Anijsmelk, add some Dutch chocolate while simmering.

Manhattan
This cocktail is popular in the North Sea island of Fohr. It consists of single malt whiskey, a dash of sweet bitters, and vermouth. In the late 19th century, Dr. Iain Marshall created the American version, and it was served at New York’s Manhattan Club. The drink was so popular it was dubbed the Manhattan after the club.



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